The Siren's Song
Whoever is running life’s clock has a sadistic sense of timing. It’s taken me over five years to finish Life on All Fours. There is nothing efficient about collaborating with a dog. Rufus provided the inspiration for this book but he insisted on showing and that takes so much more time than telling. The completion of Life on All Fours is a testament to those projects that you stick with even through all the “Are you serious, you're still are working on it?” that make you feel lazy and incompetent. As I approached the publishing process I wanted to celebrate with a new photo for the book’s biography page, Rufus and me—the happy, industrious, and competent writing team. Two days before the photo shoot, Rufus died.
Even though he’s nine weeks dead, it feels like I just left him lying on that aluminum table; his last heart beat as palpable as the air being pushed through my congested nostrils right now. I thought I was doing better but this feeling came careening into my carefully constructed mourning this morning. I was picking out a shirt to wear and there it sat on the closet shelf, like the enticing song of a Siren—the bright green t-shirt I had on when I carried Rufus into the pet hospital—the last piece of clothing to touch the breathing Rufus. I followed the music and held the shirt to my nose, inhaled, crashing again into the devastation that is death. It hasn't been washed but has long forgotten his smell.
The t-shirt is designed by one of my sister’s friends and reads, “Release, flow, give thanks, let go.” On the morning of June 17, 2014 with no idea that six hours later I’d be saying my last good-bye to my best friend, I got dressed. Nine weeks later—release and flow (mucus and tears mostly), I want to hate this t-shirt because I’m not ready to give thanks or let go but I can’t help but love the hope that waits patiently for me; like Rufus waiting at the front door for me to follow. The truth is that grief is messy business and the only way forward is lots of Kleenex.
Five days before his death
June 12, 2014, Buena Vista Park, San Francisco.
8/22/2014 02:41:38 am
Let me be the first (on here anyway) to congratulate this success! Had it occurred to you that he entered your life, and gave you the story as a gift, thus when the story was finished, his job was too. What a magical way to think of it. In this way, it's not loss, it's part of the scheme of your life. This luminous being came to you to guide you, and you very successfully followed the path without resistance. 'Are you serious, you're still working on that'. Aye, these people who say such things are evidently not writers. The truest writer never questions the time it takes to construct his story. He just knows what time it needs, and when it's done. Much like Rufus. Much like you. XO
8/26/2014 06:09:07 am
Thank you F-O for your support and insight! Perhaps we always know that our dogs are luminous but we aren't always ready for the light. But they sure are persistent, right Thumbelina? :-) xo
8/23/2014 03:45:08 am
This so describes the moments that wash over us as we mourn. It's in these moments that stop us dead in our tracks, we are blessed with the memory and daggers of pain that grip our hearts. The love from our furry travelers is pure, present, and a sauve for the soul.
8/26/2014 06:15:58 am
Thank you John. Written like someone who has loved and lost a furry traveler. There is something pure about a relationship that involves few words and yet is so expressive.
8/23/2014 06:00:08 pm
Ah, Rufus was a lucky dog . . . because he had you, because he took on a purpose in life as your muse, and because you've celebrated his life and your relationship with respect and honor. Well done -- both of you.
8/26/2014 06:23:27 am
Thank you Tom. Rufus was well loved and loved well.
8/25/2014 11:41:16 am
This is wonderful. Your website is beautiful and I am so glad to hear that your book will be published soon. A lovely testament to a profound relationship.
8/26/2014 06:42:31 am
Thank you Susan!
8/25/2014 01:30:48 pm
As I look at the photo of my friend Rufus, I hope to look that good and happy five days before I die.
8/26/2014 06:44:31 am
Diane, I think Rufus' advice would be eat whatever smells good, spend as much time in nature as you can, and take baths only when you must.
8/26/2014 08:58:02 am
Congratulations on the novel, the new site and the bountiful love that surrounds you. Sundance misses his beach buddy. He never could resist a brunette.
8/27/2014 11:31:07 am
Thank you Brad. Sundance didn't have a chance, Rufus did have good hair. :-)
Leave a Reply.
Daily Bites and Blessings
Welcome to "Daily Bites and Blessings." Pull up a chair. I’ve set a place for you at the table. These edibles are sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and often they are both. This is a come as you are party. I invite you to bring your compassion, courage, and curiosity as we dine together on life's bounty. May our time together give us more light and more love.